Veterans and Servicemembers
“Veterans and those in uniform represent the best that our country has to offer. Their service, their sacrifice, and their willingness to put their own lives on the line to defend this nation deserve nothing less than our utmost respect and gratitude, every day. We will never stop working to ensure that when our courageous servicemembers return home, they and their families have the resources and support befitting their exceptional patriotism.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
As the son of an Army veteran, Rep. Adam Schiff understands that Congress and the nation have an obligation to provide quality care and support for all our military personnel, whether they are currently serving or are now retired. Servicemembers have sacrificed on behalf of our country, and while that is a debt we can never fully repay, Adam believes we owe military personnel and veterans the support and resources they’ve earned throughout their careers and retirement.
Providing Quality Health Services and Reforming the VA Health Care System
Adam supports numerous efforts to address the underlying problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is a strong proponent of initiatives to increase access to quality health care services for our servicemembers and veterans they earned. Specifically, Adam supports the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2020, which would establish an Office of Minority Health in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs to address longstanding inequalities in health care that affect servicemembers and veterans of color. In addition to protecting servicemembers and veterans of color, Adam is continuing to fight to undo the decades of discrimination against servicemembers in the LGBTQ+ community.
Adam also co-sponsored the Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act, which would direct the Secretary of Defense to establish three Centers of Excellence for the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions caused by exposure to environmental conditions such as open burn pits. Additionally, Adam joined his House colleagues in passing the Protecting Moms Who Served Act, which would require the VA to provide community maternity care providers with training and support with respect to the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum veterans.
In 2014, in response to the unacceptable delays reported at various Veterans Health Administration facilities across the country, the Obama administration launched a comprehensive audit of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities across the country. The audit revealed more than 100,000 veterans experiencing long wait times for medical appointments, and Adam continues to call on the VA to urgently address these chronic deficiencies.
Providing the Best Retirement Benefits
Adam knows that military retirees have made countless personal sacrifices during their careers in service. And their heroic efforts are just the beginning: family members truly serve as well, by picking up extra responsibilities when their loved ones depart for long deployments, adjusting to new jobs and schools as they move to new duty stations, and working through other stresses of the military lifestyle. When our servicemembers retire, Adam believes we owe it to these individuals to ensure that they and their families are cared for.
Adam has supported the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, which would repeal the offset of the Survivors Benefit Program and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for military survivors and requires the payment of an annuity to a member’s dependent children when there is no eligible surviving spouse. Adam has also supported the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act, which would permit retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-related disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation, eliminates the phase-in period, and makes permanent the eligibility for Chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service.
Addressing Military Sexual Trauma
Adam strongly supports ongoing efforts to advance military justice reform and improve protections for survivors of military sexual trauma. That’s why Adam backed the military justice reform provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022. This historic legislation finally moves sexual assault cases out of the military chain of command, ensuring that independent military attorneys outside of the victim’s chain of command will decide whether to prosecute sexual assault cases. While this is an encouraging step forward, Adam believes additional reforms must be instituted to ensure justice for servicemembers who experience sexual violence, and continues to work with leaders like Rep. Jackie Speier to protect those who protect our country. That’s why Adam will continue to fight to improve accountability in military sexual harassment cases and support further efforts to eliminate assault and harassment in the military.
Ensuring Educational Benefits
Educational benefits for service members and veterans ensure they have every opportunity to learn new skills that can be applied to their military career or transition to the civilian workforce. Adam supported the post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, which was signed into law, increasing eligibility, increasing assistance amounts, expanding the list of allowed educational programs, expanding payments for licensing, certification, admissions, and placement tests, and providing additional living allowances for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Adam also supported the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act, also signed into law, which allows veterans to attend state-run higher education institutions at in-state tuition rates regardless of their residency status, and extends authorities for various educational, employment, and housing benefits.
Ending Veteran Homelessness
According to the VA, more than 37,000 veterans are experiencing homeless or live in shelters or within community-based organizations. More than 3,900 homeless veterans reside in Los Angeles County alone. Many more low-income veterans and families live on the margins and are at risk of becoming homeless in the absence of permanent housing solutions and supportive services.
Adam believes no servicemember, veteran, or military family member who bravely served our nation should go unhoused. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Adam continuously worked to fully fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Supportive voucher program, which provides rental assistance and case management and clinical services for homeless veterans. Adam has also supported the Homes for Heroes Act, which would provide shelter for homeless veterans and their families and help prevent low-income families from falling into homelessness, as well as comprehensive federal funding to end homelessness.
Getting the Names of Those Lost on the U.S.S. Frank Evans on the Vietnam Wall
The USS Frank E. Evans collided with the Australian ship, the HMAS Melbourne, on June 3, 1969, while conducting a training exercise in the South China Sea. As a result of the collision, the bow of the American destroyer quickly sank, and 74 sailors lost their lives. Unfortunately, the sailors did not meet the Department of Defense's geographic criteria for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial since at the time of the collision, the Evans was outside the area designated as the combat zone. The issue was first brought to Adam’s attention several years ago by a constituent who lost his father in the accident.
Adam has been working for several years to petition the Secretary of Defense to grant an exemption to the criteria requirements for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, so that these men may join their 58,000 comrades on the Wall. While the ultimate decision rests with the Secretary, Adam has been successful in including supportive language in the National Defense Authorization bill. He will continue to press the issue.
- January 26, 2022
- November 11, 2021